DHCP stands for Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol and is a network application that enables servers to administer a network of computers connected to the Internet. A personal computer needs to have a unique Internet Protocol address or IP address which is like a PC's identification number. A DHCP server assigns this number to the individual PCs connected to it automatically. This type of server is highly stable but problems can still occur. These problems are signaled by an individual PC's failure to connect to the network or majority or all of the networked PCs' loss of interconnectivity.
1. Use the ipconfig/all command. Execute this command in command prompt mode. A list of all the IP addresses of all the computers in the network will appear. A DHCP server when configured is given a range of addresses that it can assign to the computers connected to it. If a computer in the network has an IP address that is not within this range of addresses then it will not be able to connect to the network. Check the list that appeared after you executed the ipconfig/all command and you will see that the computer that is having problems connecting has an inappropriate IP address.
2. Check all the hardware connections. Make sure that everything is properly attached from the network adapter to the router. Then see if the network adapter in the problematic PC is actually using the correct and updated driver.
3. Check the network connection configuration. Once you've confirmed that the hardware or their drivers are in proper order you should see if the problematic PC's network connection is configured correctly. Navigate to the 'Network Connections' folder, left click on the displayed network connection icon and choose 'Properties' from the list. The 'Local Area Connections Properties' window will appear and on the 'General' tab highlight the 'Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)' item then click on the 'Properties' button located just below that list. Another window labeled 'Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) Properties' will appear. On this window the options 'Obtain IP address automatically' and 'Obtain DNS server address automatically' must be checked. Once you've done this you should restart the problematic PC.
4. Check the DHCP server itself. The DHCP server has a static IP address of its own and this should be compatible with the range of addresses that it is assigning to the other computers in the network. If for example the configured range of assignable IP addresses is from 169.254.0.1 to 169.254.0.50, then the server's address should be something like 169.254.0.0 or 169.254.0.51 which means it is part of the subnet range. You can figure this out by navigating to the Administrative Tools folder of the server computer itself. In this area you will also be able to discover if the necessary services of the DHCP server software is still functioning or correctly configured.
DHCP servers can significantly lessen the burden of system and network administration. It can in fact accommodate new devices into a network with hardly any manual intervention. But a little basic knowledge about how they work can help regular users to troubleshoot problems that may arise.